Shiva (or Siva) is one of the chief deities of Hinduism. His name means "Auspicious One." Devotees of Shiva are called "Saivites." Shiva is a paradoxical deity, both a destroyer and a restorer, a great ascetic and a symbol of sensuality, a benevolent herdsman of souls and a wrathful avenger." Shiva's consort is Shakti and his son is Ganesh, the elephant-headed god. Shiva is symbolized by the bull and the linga, and is perhaps most well known for his manifestation as Nataraja, or the Cosmic Dancer. For more information on Shiva, see the article "Shiva: The Auspicious One."
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